10 JANUARY 1931, Page 28

Motoring Notes

The 30/40 h.p. 12 cyl. Daimler THIS model, the second largest of a range of six, is one which has very interesting and novel features. To start with, it has two blocks of six cylinders, each with its own coil-ignition, carburation, and exhaust system, but using one crankshaft and transmission. Secondly, the novel transmission-i.e., gearbox and flywheel; is such that gear-changing is fool-proof ; such abuse as is possible by a novice not only produces no jar or noise, but cannot harm the mechanism.

The combination of this type of flywheel and gearbox dates from this year, but each of these components has been in service over a sufficiently long period to guarantee their being reliable and trouble free: This 30/40 chassis is supplied in three lengths-viz., 11 ft. 6 ins., 12 ft. 31 ins., and 13 ft. 1' in., the price ranging from £1,100 to £1,350. I should mention at once that although the complete cars are all of large dimensions, they are by no means clumsy or unwieldy in trallic. Indeed, the opposite is true ; the car in question turns in a remarkably small circle, and is exceptionally easy to handle. This is made possible by the novel transmission system. Change of gear is effected as follows : Below, and to the right of the steering- wheel, is an arm which moves at the touch of a finger over a plate marked R. N. I. 2. 3. 4. Simply move the arm to the gear selected ; then, when desired, depress the gear-change pedal (which takes the place of the usual clutch), and the gear changes itself automatically and almost instantaneously to the one pre-selected. The change is quite noiseless.

The fluid flywheel only conveys the drive when the speed of the engine exceeds 600 revolutions ; it is therefore quite unnecessary to get into neutral before stopping the car. The flywheel is a hydro-dynamic device, transmitting the drive by a change of energy in rapidly moving fluid ; it is automatic in action, and has only two moving parts ; there is nothing in the construction to go wrong. To start the car, simply open the throttle, and as the speed of the engine increases, the drive is taken up gradually, without any jar, the slip decreasing as the car gets under way. This does not in any way diminish the braking power of the engine when the throttle is suddenly closed ; this braking is exactly the same as with a normal transmission, but the over-run is more silent.

It is perfectly in order to start off in top gear if desired, but, as gear-changing is so very simple, it is only natural to take advantage of the quicker acceleration of the lower gears. There are many occasions when a driver should change down to get the best out of his car, but has a reluctance to do so because of the difficulty and possibility of a noisy clash if he makes a slight error of judgment in double clutching ; there can never be the slightest cause for any hesitation with the Da imer gears.

Daimlers have always had a reputation for silent running, and this model fully justifies their reputation, for the silence of the lower gears is very marked. Acceleration and bill- climbing on top are not remarkable, but no fault can be found with the maximum speed, which is close on 75 m.p.h., with a genuine 60 on third- I am informed that the petrol consump- tion is 12-14 miles to the gallon.

The chassis throughout has a low centre of gravity, which gives the coachbuilder a chance to make a body which is at once roomy and of a law appearance ; it holds the road well for the same reason, and the long, semi-elliptic springs behind give comfortable riding without any tendency to roll at corners. Generally speaking, the car gives a feeling of con- fidence even on wet roads, which goes a Ion way towards making a long journey a pleasure rather than an ordeal. The brakes are operated by a Dewanclre servo motor, and are very smooth in action ' • they feel quite up to their work, and it must be remembered that, even though one might be taken by surprise by a steep hill, the change down to third, or even second gear, is so simple that the engine can always be made to provide all the braking required, and the brakes thent- selves kept for an emergency.

Large as it is, the ear does not demand an excessive amount of time for keeping it up to the mark ; all the details of the engine and chassis which require attention in the normal course of events have been kept readily accessible; particular attention 'has been given to the oiling system. The engine oil has a tVvo-way pump which forces the oil through cooling

pipes inco the radiator, as well as through the engine itself. There is also a neat device for cleaning the engine oil, and one for changing all the oil in the sump without having one bolt to undo, or lying underneath the engine.

A point about the hand brake seems worthy of special mention. This long lever is of" Push-on " type, which in the normal " on " position gives a free aeeess to the driver's seat ; also when this brake is on the car cannot be started, even slowly. Anyone who has attempted to drive away with the hand brake either rally or partially on will appreciate